Shortlist: Cheltenham Festival 2018 – Day 4


JCB Triumph Hurdle (Grade 1) (1) 2m179y – 12:30AM

Timeform Rating of previous winners: 187 168 178 173 163 (Avg 174)

Betting Forecast

$3.5 Apple’s Shakira, $5.5 Redicean, $7 Stormy Ireland, $8 Farclas, $8 Mr Adjudicator, $13 Saldier, $23 Sussex Ranger, $26 Sayo, $41 Gumball

Analyst’s Verdict

This looks a cracking renewal with a whole host arriving with unbeaten records to protect. Chief amongst them, Apple’s Shakira has landed 3 smallfield contests, latterly the Triumph Hurdle Trial, but there has been plenty to like about the manner of her victories and she can come out on top with further progress anticipated. Adonis-winner Redicean is feared though, along with Stormy Ireland.

Randox Health County Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3) (1) 2m179y – 1:10AM

Betting Forecast

$11 Bleu Et Rouge, $15 Flying Tiger, $15 Sandsend, $17 A Hare Breath, $19 Duca de Thaix, $19 Ivanovich Gorbatov, $19 Meri Devie, $21 Smaoineamh Alainn, $23 Ben Dundee, $23 Chesterfield, $23 Lagostovegas, $23 Moon Racer, $26 Jenkins, $26 Mohaayed, $29 Le Richebourg, $29 Spiritofthegames, $29 Tigris River, $29 Whiskey Sour, $29 William H Bonney, $34 bar

Analyst’s Verdict

Flying Tiger won the Fred Winter last year, and has been far from disgraced in small-field contests this season. He can up his game in this bigfield/strong pace scenario and his mark could be lenient. Smaoineamh Alainn may well go slightly under the radar given her connections but she’s promising, with Bleu Et Rouge perhaps the pick of the Irish.

Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle (Spa) (Grade 1) (1) 2m7f213y – 1:50AM

Timeform Rating of previous winners: 164 159 162 160 168 (Avg 163)

Betting Forecast

$7 Santini, $7.5 Chris’s Dream, $8 Chef des Obeaux, $15 Ok Corral, $15 Poetic Rhythm, $15 Tower Bridge, $17 Ballyward, $19 Calett Mad, $21 Real Steel, $23 Enniscoffey Oscar, $26 Dortmund Park, $26 Mr Whipped, $26 Paisley Park, $34 Fabulous Saga, $34 Talkischeap, $41 Kilbricken Storm, $41 Mulcahys Hill, $41 Robin Waters, $51 Beyond The Law, $67 Crucial Role

Analyst’s Verdict

Plenty in here with claims. Chris’s Dream found a chunk of improvement to make a winning yard debut in a Clonmel Grade 3 last month, a race his handler’s Monalee took prior to a fine second in this race 12 months ago. There is no doubt Nicky Henderson holds a strong hand though, with Santini and Chef des Obeaux both highly respected. Enniscoffey Oscar is also in with a shout at a bigger price.

Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup Chase (Grade 1) (1) 3¼m70y – 2:30AM

Timeform Rating of previous winners: 187 172 179 192 179 (Avg 182)

Betting Forecast

$5 Might Bite, $5.5 Native River, $10 Our Duke, $11 Road To Respect, $13 Definitly Red, $15 Killultagh Vic, $19 Edwulf, $23 Total Recall, $29 Bachasson, $34 American, $34 Djakadam, $34 Double Shuffle, $34 Minella Rocco, $34 Outlander, $41 Anibale Fly, $101 Saphir du Rheu, $101 Tea For Two, $301 Shantou Flyer

Analyst’s Verdict

Might Bite has his quirks, as shown when nearly throwing away the RSA at this meeting last season, but there’s no doubting he’s one of the very best chasers around at the moment and is the one they all have to beat. Native River has had an ideal preparation and should make a bold bid to better last year’s third, while Our Duke heads a strong team from Ireland.

St. James’s Place Foxhunter Challenge Cup Open Hunters’ Chase (2) 3¼m70y – 3:10AM

Timeform Rating of previous winners: 138 144 145 138 138 (Avg 141)

Betting Forecast

$5 Burning Ambition, $8 Wonderful Charm, $10 Foxrock, $17 Caid du Berlais, $19 On The Fringe, $19 Pacha du Polder, $19 Virak, $23 Grand Vision, $23 Sir Jack Yeats, $26 Balnaslow, $26 Unioniste, $26 Volnay de Thaix, $26 Wells de Lune, $29 Barel of Laughs, $41 bar

Analyst’s Verdict

Wonderful Charm was probably an unlucky loser behind stablemate Pacha du Polder in this race 12 months ago, and compensation could well be forthcoming with a ready win at Musselburgh last month likely to have put him spot on for this. 7-y-o Burning Ambition is the up-and-comer in this division, while Foxrock is classy but his previous record at this track is slightly off-putting.

Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle (2) 2½m56y – 3:50AM

Betting Forecast

$11 Flawless Escape, $12 Diese des Bieffes, $13 Deal d’Estruval, $13 Sire du Berlais, $19 Amour de Nuit, $19 Delire d’Estruval, $21 Blow By Blow, $21 Carter McKay, $21 Mr Big Shot, $23 Brave Eagle, $23 Early Doors, $23 Tommy Rapper, $26 Coeur de Lion, $26 Melrose Boy, $29 Brillare Momento, $29 Lough Derg Spirit, $34 Burrows Saint, $34 Discorama, $34 Dream Berry, $34 No Hassle Hoff, $41 bar

Analyst’s Verdict

Willie Mullins tends to run some of his better horses in this race and Deal d’Estruval could be the pick of his trio. He was unlucky to bump into one even better treated when second over 2m on his handicap debut at Leopardstown last time and remains capable of better, especially back up in trip. Sire du Berlais and Diese des Bieffes head a long list of potential dangers.

Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Challenge Cup Handicap Chase (Grade 3) (1) 2m62y – 4:30AM

Betting Forecast

$12 Don’t Touch It, $13 North Hill Harvey, $15 Theinval, $15 Vaniteux, $17 Rock The World, $19 Dolos, $19 Gino Trail, $21 Bouvreuil, $21 Forest Bihan, $21 Le Prezien, $21 Top Gamble, $23 Foxtail Hill, $23 Valdez, $26 Born Survivor, $26 Some Plan, $26 Three Stars, $29 Garde La Victoire, $29 Townshend, $34 Eastlake, $34 Sizing Platinum, $41 bar

Analyst’s Verdict

A leap of faith is required in supporting Vaniteux, but there were signs a revival could be close to hand when second in the Desert Orchid at Kempton in December. The handicapper has given him a chance and he could be worth chancing. Jumpers’ bumper scorer Forest Bihan arrives on his last winning mark, with Bouvreuil, Don’t Touch It and last year’s winner Rock The World completing the shortlist.


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